Obama open to talks with Syrian opposition umbrella group

WASHINGTON Wed Nov 14, 2012 2:39pm EST

U.S. President Barack Obama gestures during his first news conference since his reelection, at the White House in Washington November 14, 2012. REUTERS/Larry Downing

U.S. President Barack Obama gestures during his first news conference since his reelection, at the White House in Washington November 14, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Larry Downing

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama on Wednesday said he was encouraged by the recent formation of an umbrella group for the Syrian opposition fighting the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, but he stopped short of recognizing it as a government in exile.

Obama, holding his first news conference since being re-elected last week, said he would speak with the group and considers it "a legitimate representative" for the Syrian people.

Obama said he also shares Israel's concern about the movement of chemical weapons in Syria during the current fighting and turmoil.

(Reporting By Dan Burns; Editing by Doina Chiacu)

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